COLUMBUS: Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer applauded the move by the NCAA this week to table the relaxation of several recruiting rules that would have made the pursuit of prospects an almost 24/7/365 exercise.
The rules that were suspended would have allowed myriad school staff members to make contacts with prospects and would have allowed virtually unlimited mailings of printed matter, from letters to press guides to posters. Also tabled was an amendment that would have allowed unlimited phone calls and communication with prospects throughout the year instead of during designated periods. Meyer and his colleagues in the Big Ten pushed for most of the new rules to be rescinded or at least studied more, as did many other coaches across the country.
“One of the concerns I know our staff has and the Big Ten has — the fall is for coaching your players,” Meyer said. “If it’s unlimited phone calls and all that stuff, then you’re spending all of your evenings calling recruits. We don’t need to speed up the process any more. I think recruiting, the calendar, is perfect the way it is.”
Yet Meyer said Ohio State is poised to add personnel to the recruiting effort if the proposed rules allowing more people to be involved ultimately is passed. Two-time defending national champion Alabama was in the process of doing the same thing.
“We’re still evaluating the landscape,” Meyer said. “I think Alabama does a nice job. They staff up pretty good. … And we’re going to do certainly [what it takes] to be competitive.”
Big Ten divisions
The Big Ten apparently is ready to divide its divisions by geography in 2014. Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com reported that league sources say the only remaining issue is whether Indiana or Purdue will move to the West when Maryland and Rutgers join the conference. That won’t affect the Purdue-Indiana rivalry either way; in the new alignment, that will be only “protected” rivalry that will continue to be played every season.
Under the new alignment, the eastern division will have Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers and either Purdue or Indiana. That will leave the western division with Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska and Purdue or Indiana.
The major criticism of this is that the eastern division is much stronger, which is why some early discussions had Michigan State moving west and putting Indiana and Purdue in the east. That is apparently no longer being considered.
Forbes on OSU
Ohio State is fifth on the Forbes.com list of “college basketball’s most valuable teams in 2013.” The website lists OSU’s value at $23.1 million, 3 percent less than a year, and a profit of $13.6 million.
Louisville tops the list for the second consecutive year with a net worth of $38.5 million, followed by Kansas ($32.9 million), North Carolina ($32.8 million) and Kentucky ($32.1 million). Indiana ($21.8 million) is sixth, Wisconsin ($19.8 million) and Michigan State ($17.3 million) is 10th.
Beer and wine
Minnesota sold nearly $1 million in beer and wine at TCF Bank Stadium last year and lost $15,516, according to the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis.
How could the school lose money selling beer at $7.25 a cup?
The university’s contract with its vendor, Aramark Corp., gave the school a 22 percent share of the profits from $907,000 in alcohol sales, which came to $185,025 after taxes. But the university’s alcohol-related expenses for the first year were $200,587.
“Going into the first season, we knew it wasn’t going to be profitable,” Associate Athletic Director Tom McGinnis told the paper.
The list of startup expenses that cut into the school’s beer profits included $12,000 in plants to screen the A gate beer kiosk from the view of visitors to the Tribal Nations Plaza. The university brought in a dozen extra campus police officers, 10 more ushers and two security supervisors to keep tabs on the football crowds once the alcohol started flowing. That cost almost $50,000, but police incidents actually went down at the stadium, compared with the previous dry season.
The Minnesota Vikings’ surprise release of former Ohio State and Garfield High star Antoine Winfield might not signal the end of his days with the Vikings. At the NFL meetings in Phoenix, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said that he had spoken with Winfield about returning to the team.
“I’m hoping that we can figure out a way to get him back here,” Frazier said.
There have reportedly been discussions between Winfield’s agent, Ashanti Webb, and Winfield, 35, is apparently willing to listen. But the 14-year veteran has visits lined up with other NFL teams and it’s unclear how much money the Vikings are pay for a player they released.
He had been due to earn $7.25 million in 2013, and the Vikings spoke to his agent weeks earlier about the possibility of pay cut. There was no further dialogue until infield was released a couple of hours before free agency opened.
Hazell opens Purdue up
Purdue football coach Darrell Hazell decided to open all but two of the Boilermakers spring practice sessions to the news media and the fans. Not only is this unusual in a sport where coaches generally demand privacy, but it seems especially notable given that Hazell was an assistant coach at Ohio State for seven years (2004-2010) before becoming the coach at Kent State. Ohio State has never been among the most open schools when it comes to practice sessions.
“A lot of college coaches are paranoid,” Hazell told the Lafayette Journal and Courier. “We’re not worried about giving away how to run power, which every team in the country runs power the same way, or how to throw a three-step slant route. Everybody is doing it the same way; we call it differently.
“Am I a little bit worried about guys filming in practice? We’ll have to stop guys from filming, but I want people to be out there and watch us practice and watch us work for two hours. I want there to be a little bit of, ‘These guys are watching us.’ ”